A Message of Love (God Does Not Exclude, Even When the Church Does)

By David T. Reid

My brothers and sisters, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my experiences.  It is difficult to express on paper my emotions and feelings as a child of God living in these latter-days.

I live not far from Palmyra, New York and have traveled there many times.  Each time I visit the historic sites it is with sincere inward reflection upon my heart.  It may be hard for others to understand why an excommunicated LDS member would even make the journey.  It is simply because I find peace and love in the sacred grove.

There have been times when I have entered the sacred grove where there are no other visitors or missionaries on site.  In those moments, I have knelt down to pray to our Heavenly Father with real intent of receiving His word through the power of the Holy Ghost; and nonetheless, I can humbly state that He has never left me to be alone.

It is an odd situation during those times that the missionaries are on site.  Normally the missionaries ask everyone where they are from and if they are they LDS members.  This is especially the case when visiting the Smith’s family log cabin as the rooms are very small and tight quarters.  For myself, I feel right at home.  However, it creates an environment perplexing to the missionaries when I announce that I once was a member, but now I am not.  I am sure they must question the spirit of what that means to our Heavenly Father, because I can sense it from their puzzled stares.  Usually the room becomes silent and the crowd moves on to the next room.  Sometimes, I have a private moment with the missionaries to explain my situation.  I am sure it becomes more perplexing to them when I explain to them that it is by the request of our Heavenly Father that I not be a member.

Why would God ask someone not to be a member?  It is purely the fact that our Heavenly Father wants me to have time to heal those wounds to my soul.  My spirit leaps in knowing that He will not abandon me like so many who have done so throughout my life.  Because of that, I have suffered great sadness and sorrow almost to the point of putting in jeopardy my own salvation.  Like those who are blessed by the laying on of hands when they are sick, I have been blessed by our Heavenly Father that I suffer no more burden due to the dejection from my own brothers.  That I carry not their yoke upon my shoulders due to its hurt and pain, but allow Him carry it for me.   This I know my brothers and sisters is the power of our Heavenly Father’s love for each one of us.  If I could stand on every mountain top and in every valley below, I would testify out loud to the world in all places that we are loved.  We are loved more than we can ever imagine within our hearts and minds.   Love that is even greater than the power of all the suns, stars, and space combined together in the heavens.

As I reflect back to the time of my excommunication, it was a whirlwind of emotions caught up in a web created by good meaning people in believing that they were doing the right thing in the eyes of God.  Because of their ignorance in understanding my plight they created an environment that was unfriendly and unwelcoming.  Too many times I heard it said, “Hate the sin not the sinner.”  Unfortunately, it is difficult for some to separate the two.  As human beings we find it easier to label others we don’t understand rather than invest ourselves in learning the truth about one another.  In the end, the leadership of the church knew very well what would happen to me.  They gave me three options: number one, I could change my homosexuality; number two, I could commit suicide and end my life; number three, I could remove myself from its membership.  As a gay Mormon, I tried to change my homosexuality to appease the church.  Then I tried to end my life a number of times during my teenage years; and nevertheless, when those attempts were unsuccessful, the church removed me from its membership.  What does this teach?  It does not show compassion or empathy for our brothers and sisters.  It teaches that it is okay to throw away us children of God than listen to the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was sent by our Heavenly Father because He loved us all.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 15:12

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

 

These things I write, humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Mr. Reid was a very active member of the Cortland, New York branch.  Originally his family came from Syracuse, New York where his mother joined the church in the early 1960’s.  His ancestral background is tied to Scottish, Jewish, and possibly Native American Indian roots.  His ancestors’ settled in upstate New York where they once operated the Salt Mines near Onondaga Lake; and nonetheless, they patriotically fought alongside George Washington in The Revolutionary War.  Throughout David’s life he has been personally touched by the life and works of Joseph Smith Jr.  So much so, that he has visited the majority of historic sites where Joseph Smith lived like his birthplace, family home, and cabin in Palmyra, New York.  David lives only a few minutes away from the Susquehanna River where Joseph meant his wife Emma Hale in Afton [Formed from Bainbridge], New York.  Mr. Reid has performed temple work in Washington, DC and has had the honor of attending the open house of the Hill Cumorah Temple.  David wasn’t baptized until the age of ten by instruction from church leadership.  Since the age of ten, Mr. Reid has been writing poetry and short stories for almost forty years.  His works have been nationally published in periodicals and books.

5 comments for “A Message of Love (God Does Not Exclude, Even When the Church Does)

  1. Gina
    September 11, 2013 at 9:19 am

    David! Thank you for sharing part of your story. It was a nice surprise to see your name here after our chit-chat on the other post. (My mother’s family is from Yonkers and Sackets Harbor, and my husband, I, and kids were sealed in the DC Temple where you worked).

    I can understand your phrase that Heavenly Father guided you to not be a member. I believe He would do that. My own husband (an active member who loves the church) as a father has said that if we had a gay child, he would support him or her decision to leave the Church to protect his or her own spiritual worth and mental well-being. Here is a loving, Earthly father saying that; of course a more-perfect father in heaven would, too. Because.He.Loves.

  2. David T. Reid
    September 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you Gina for sharing part of your story with me. It is an honor to hear how you and your husband would support your children if they found themselves in a situation like mine. They are truly blessed to have parents like you.

    The Washington Temple is a beautiful monument and is a highly spiritual place to work within. However, as a visitor, during the open house, which happened to fall on my birthday, I must admit the Palmyra Temple is a very sacred place. A temple that was dedicated to our Savior, Jesus Christ and to our Heavenly Father to help us broaden and deepen our knowledge in His great work. It is a solemn place not far from the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith Jun. personally prayed for answers to his own questions. In my journey to find answers to my own questions, I have personally found the greatest solace from our Heavenly Father there. The spirit is strong and reassuring that all God’s children have a place in His House [Kingdom].
    .
    Matthew 7:7

    Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

    3 Nephi 14:7

    Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

  3. Tom
    September 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I am often filled with wonder when I contemplate the mercy of our Heavenly Father considering the unorthodox means He sometimes uses to save us from the world around us. in fact, there seems to be little He will not do to save us.

    It is no surprise you found love and peace in the Sacred Grove. When I read what you wrote about kneeling there, I remembered what the Prophet Joseph Smith said: the rich get their blessings in the temples, the poor get them on the mountain tops (or a grove as the case may be). Joseph was also one of the ‘poor’ who sought his blessings there.

    • David T. Reid
      September 21, 2013 at 3:17 am

      Beautifully said and so honestly true. Thank you Tom for sharing this with me.

      • David T. Reid
        September 21, 2013 at 4:15 am

        Behind Mortal Eyes ©
        by David T. Reid

        Behind the glass to my colorful eye
        lives a humble spirit such as I.
        Though you cannot see his immortal face
        but he walks and talks in its space.
        When the mortal time comes to die;
        He will move out his shell to the sky.
        There in the heavens God will be
        with a quiet smile and open arms to me.

        All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *